Rome’s Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls to host concert on 29 April.
London’s Southbank Sinfonia orchestra and the UK Parliament Choir will perform The Dream of Gerontius by Edward Elgar at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls in Rome on Saturday 29 April.
The concert for choir and orchestra at 21.00 will be conducted by Simon Over and has the patronage of the UK embassy to the Holy See and the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra.
An epic choral masterpiece, The Dream of Gerontius was composed by Elgar in 1900 based on on a Victorian poem by Cardinal John Henry Newman who was canonised in 2019 by Pope Francis.
There’s not long until we perform Elgar’s ‘The Dream of Gerontius’ in Rome alongside @parliamentchoir!
Here’s some photo highlights from our dress rehearsal.
Jeff Moore pic.twitter.com/BtW9LqMDh4
— Southbank Sinfonia (@SouthbankSinf) April 26, 2023
Described by organisers as a story relating the journey of a man’s soul after death, the composition presents “a musical world laden with emotional power, depicting fallen angels, pain, fear, and exultation.”
There will be about 400 artists involved in the performance, reports Vatican News, including tenor Robert Murray (Gerontius), mezzo-soprano Beth Taylor (The Angel) and baritone Arthur Bruce (The Priest and The Angel of the Agony).
Lord Michael German, chair of the UK Parliament Choir, described the concert as “a unique opportunity to strengthen relations between the United Kingdom and the Vatican through music”.
It is possible to reserve a place for the concert in the Basilica by compiling a registration form, with full details available on the Fondazione Pro Musica e Arte Sacra website.
Cover image: UK Parliament Choir. Photo Jeff Moore.